Tabletop Photography Fundamentals

Lesson 5 of 33

Shoot: Daylight Lighting - Tea Towel

 

Tabletop Photography Fundamentals

Lesson 5 of 33

Shoot: Daylight Lighting - Tea Towel

 

Lesson Info

Shoot: Daylight Lighting - Tea Towel

Rather than leave this like, this will take it down and we'll start from scratch. Not completely scratch, but we will start with our with our black sweep again. You need to be careful with keno because jim is very emotionally attached. I am all right. So a question while we're doing a new set up, can you let us know a little bit about what dictates your choice of a black background or a white background? I think purely product contrast. Okay. Number one, that was a white product. Sure, I wanted it to be against black, so that was the first to determining factor. The second factor was shadow. I wanted it to be a clean, flat shadow, this environment. So that's another reason why I used black in this situation. So those two kind of determining factors plus I have a preference personal preferences. I prefer a black background so that could come into play too. Especially if it's my product that I'm shooting and I prefer a black background like the way it looks on my website. I like the way ...

it jumps off the page that all might be my my determining factor. If I was shooting product all by itself without any propping, I might shoot it on white because then I have the opportunities silhouetted and pop it out of the environment and pop it into anything else I want different color background, different environment, a different part of my website I may very well want to do it that way so you can still silhouette off of black but not with that object because we had that prop in there and I was giving us the background it's if I was shooting white, that would give me that option as well great anymore questions yes, mike just general curiosity what your preferences on the direction of the seamless I know I think every photographer's got their own like instead of looping it kind of toilet paper people have it coming from the back or from the photo I like it that way unlike the way I like my toilet paper, which is the other one over the top over the top but I do like this better I don't like the role coming over that way because then it has to come like this and then go like this this way is much more kind of comfortable drop so when you get a color swatch that you're matching so they don't name be rolled out back might be a later like I don't know if the color goes all the way through or not, but in thirty years I've always rolled it this way curious yeah okay um what I notice right away is that we've kind of stuff are surface a little bit so in that case what we what we would do is unclaimed roll out a fresh piece cut it and start fresh we're not gonna do that now and for the sake of time but I think that in a situation where you are working with something that can get kind of marred up with scuffed dirty I would start clean clean the surface plot and in pieces seamless whatever it is windex however always starting with clean surfaces and clean environment objects is again saving you time on the back end so here's our next object again from our rabbit a little rabbit and it's ah it's a tea towel that has a bicycle on it um I got to pick this one because I like bicycles so um so I think that in this situation we can we can kind of we want to make sure we get the graphic right and I think that just shooting it against black will give us that opportunity the other things that we might do and I'll show you later on when we're working with other objects is creating scenarios like kind of real life scenarios where we're we're goingto tryto maybe hang things or spend them or use them in ways that might be interesting to photograph also provide you with a different opportunity to do some different angles but for for for our sake here, this is a pretty big graphic on this tape howl, so we really want to make sure we can display that. Obviously, we don't want to kind of have it, you know, like this it's not going to really give you the sense of what this graphic is the whole idea of this is if you like this graphic, you'd buy the towel, I think that's otherwise it's just another white towel, so if we don't display it in that way, I think that's important now kind of giving it like a straight fold and maybe for a really kind of clean squared off look, we might do that just to kind of get a first shot, so we're just going to kind of organize this in a way that we're really just trying to highlight the graphic. So once I'm figuring out how I want this to sit in a kind of symmetrical way on the table, not sure if I like it, what I think I might try to do here in this scenario is I got it nice and flat, but when I folded the towel underneath it because it's a little bit translucent it's, the white is heavier on one side, and then you could see the black through it so I would instead lay it out flat because now what I really determined in my mind is that I don't think I can fold this or put it in any way because the nature of the object isn't going to do that. So if I make sure I flattened out the graphic nice, we'll pull the camera over and shoot it like this and then be able to crop right into the towel, so now we're highlighting the graphic. We can see what it is it's not necessary to see the fact that it you know what, how the fabric is or how it kind of flows or whatever the selling point is the graphic so that's, where we're going to hide with that's, where we're going to concentrate our our effort, so this is a this is a very different approach from what we did with the bag one of us is gonna pull the whole thing over with, okay, so way need to get closer and angle the camera down. Okay? Now, this is one of those situations where I may very well try to be directly over the top. I don't think I'm gonna achieve that with this particular piece of equipment right now, but the idea is that it is obviously an option because then once you've gotten a square cropped in image, that's a frame and you post that on your on your website that's a really good indication if you and it's repeatable if they have ten towels like this with ten different graphics, we can photograph every one of them the same way in the same lighting with the same technique and put them out in a grid on our website really cleanly and again, we're highlighting the the selling point of the object for the item starts saying item this might work from this angle and it may not on that's okay, because we're going to try it first and if we don't like it, we can't see that the the opportunity is there to crop it the way we want it, we're going to need to get closer and more over the top. What do you think, it's getting looks a little round of okay? It's not too bad, I mean, I'm I'm not loving the idea that I can crop this the way I would really want it, I would really kind of prefer it to be a little more square, so I would do one of two things here I would either mount my camera directly over the subject, okay, I'm not I'm not that worried about my exposure in this situation as long as I'm exposed for that white when I put that into post production, I'm going to be able to have a nice long as it's not over exposed in these situations especially when you have a lot of white you want tend to under expose your frame maybe a third of a stop because it's going to help you in postproduction because once you blow out your whites in digital photography they're gone you can't bring them back, but if you under expose your whites just suddenly enough, it adds a little richness to it, especially when you pull the exposure up a little bit in photo shop. So the other thing I might do and maybe john and I can try it because I think we have these things is that is just going to say if we pulled the paper tighter, it'll bring it up got that one thing that let's do that first, okay, bring it down a little bit first can reach it and andrew is now a good time to potentially talk about how you manage your white balance for all your work. Sure, I think that I personally because I work primarily in daylight I have a tendency to be comfortable with the automatic white balance in my camera and then adjust my white balance in post production, but I think that my daylight that I'm comfortable with very rarely needs that much tweaking when we're doing white balance in a lot of these different light settings particularly when you're working on more than in the more tungsten range in the lower ranges of light temperature everything has a tendency to be a little bit orangey and you need to bring that back so you need to be mindful of that and try to either do a custom white balance in camera which we can talk about a little bit how that works with the canon camera that I use a custom white balance is achieved when you take a photograph of a great card and then you adjust your settings to read that card as white and then what that does is it adjust it naturally adjust the white temperature in camera in the sensor to read more white than orange or blue or whichever is the correction that needs to happen. So it's it's something that if you read the manual in your camera almost every one of them does it and it might be subtly different but it's something that goes back to the film days where we would do white balance exactly the same way or color balance too you know if you shoot a strip of color and you try to match color all of those things are possible these cameras are viewing powerful on even some of the lower end dslr czar the consumer versions or maybe even some of the micro four thirds cameras all have white balance uh changes so that's definitely something we can do awesome thank you raise it up a little bit yeah let's see what we get okay so we're going to pull it up we're kind of creating a little bit of a vertical flow to this which might help us between the angle of the camera and the angle of our of our sweep it may give us that opportunity to kind of square off that image a little bit better that's already gotten better and I think even with this frame it'll get better still and then we'll be able to get what we want it's not really giving us that curvature the aberration of the curvature in the camera and I think that we can probably square that off probably pretty nicely and make it look nice in a presentation wait I just want to get in a little tighter were at seventy still I don't know oh yeah there we go and you could see it I mean you could see the idea that we have some some kind of flexibility here with white and I think that this is such a simple object the third and last way I would attempt this might be suspended awful wire by attaching maybe like the same kind of situation with a stand a stand and across piece and then hanging it what fishing fishing wire yeah way have stands here we could probably rigged that up let's give it a shot and show you how we could do that pretty pretty reason to believe just take yourself to see stands you up well, we have one this when we could do with one and across piece and we'll set it up well, that bar might work yeah, that might work all by itself. Okay, let's try that. Well, it'll come in close, right? Yeah, we can get this way move the camera back so we're using just this one you can do to you could use a piece of fishing line was considering how big this is hanging it we have some clothes pins I think over there way have clothes pins in here. Okay, this also? Well, the other thing is weaken with doubling by doubling this up a little bit. Um it kind of increases the white a little bit. It gets a little bit a little bit whiter so we can waken try it that way and also because, you know, we're considering we are going to crop into this image it may work out just nice so back off a little bit. Can you get that a little closer to the black by rotating in the feet for that? Perfect okay, so now we're going to have the opportunity really square off both the subject and yeah, that's really nice okay, and out of all of the ones we've done so far like that the best because we do have a nice, clean kind of squared off look and when we are able to kind of square it often in post production then it's gonna it's gonna look really nice try to crop into it right now in camera and see if we can make it look exactly the way we want it wanna go up or down I got it good. Ok, so this should look is close to a final product as we can get in camera wait that's what we want the fabric is the fabric looks good you could still see a little bit of texture your graphic looks really nice. You have a nice clean line all around it that you're able to box out and I think that that's again if it's a reproducible process that's something we could do over and over again if we have twenty towels we can hang them all up photographed a graphics, put him into the same kind of general context and be and be really comfortable with that. So I think that works now let's do something else while we've done this let's suspend the bag that we shot on the model from here and see what we can get from that perspective you have any questions? While would you sure do so and you you're really famous for the lack of post production work that you do in your attitude editorial food photography yeah how much work retouching photo shop stuff post processing will you do when you're in your commercial product photography mohr what kinds of stuff? Well, I didn't I think of just doing the kind of subtle things like dust removal on dh making sure that like if you have a crease or a line you can clone it out or you have a spot that you don't like it you can clean that up you can let do layers and layer layer your images and do a little bit of masking and kind of clean it up that way sharpening your edges there's a lot that you can do in post production that is completely editorially honest when you're talking about product photography it's very very different than food it's also not in an editorial format it's a commercial format exact and when you're in a commercial for matt all bets are off make it look is enticing and good as you could possibly do with whatever technology have at your disposal well, do you do your own? I do I mean I'm not great at it I have other people that I work with that are much better at it and then when I reach thie end of my expertise I will hard handed off to somebody I trust but it's I think every photographer probably has a good working knowledge of photo shop and then there's somebody like a re toucher whose did a completely different animal and when you get your image to a certain point and he's still not satisfied that's when the re toucher comes in and really khun work magic on an image so great, I think you have a very, very good one, so we're gonna try this and then we'll try one little trick at the end of this is maybe we'll put thea maybe we'll put the tea towel back up, but I'm going to show you how even a songs you have a consistent lighting setup that using your iphone is something that you can actually do is when you're doing collaborate shin or you're working in a studio setting and you want to share an image with north director of somebody and andrew, you were talking about the great card that you use earlier would you might reiterating what tone of great card you use a zafar like? Is it like an eighteen percent? Oh, I'm not quite sure what I which one, I have a point. I know I use it so infrequently at this point that I don't have one and I use it and it works for me, and I'm not even quite sure what the percentage of this god thank you.

Class Description

You don’t need a studio to take professional-grade product and still life photographs! All you need is a simple tabletop lighting setup. In this course, award-winning food photographer Andrew Scrivani will show you how to create and tailor your own table top lighting setup — on any budget. Whether you’re a beginning photographer looking to master lighting or a professional photographer eager to expand your services, this course will give you a candid, comprehensive playbook for tabletop lighting.

Tabletop photography transforms a single surface into a small-scale studio. Andrew, a regular contributor to The New York Times, will show you how to create and then optimize your lighting setup for your needs — using everything from the latest gear to household items. Andrew will cover metering and bounce cards, working with strobes and soft boxes, LED lighting, and tips for shooting glassware and other tricky products.

By the end of this course, you will know how to set up and adjust your very own tabletop studio — and how to use that small-scale studio to expand your services, improve your photography, and market your business.

Reviews

a Creativelive Student
 

I was pleased to see real life situations and set ups, their work arounds and the little fiddly things all commercial/product photographers go through to produce a viable shot. Unlike some of the other reviews, the "oops, it didn't work, let's try this instead" was totally real world and believable. So many times on other teaching venues, the shot is already set up and perfected before the instruction begins. It was extremely helpful to watch the processes that were involved in producing the correct captures. I was impressed with the humor and teaching style as well, especially for the time constraints in a classroom setting. The student set-ups and critiques were valuable and spot on without being negative in any way. All-in-all this was one of the best classes I've viewed at Creative Live. I just wish I could have had three more days and to have been there in person for the one-on-one instruction.

Ernst
 

Thank you Andrew. Great class. Learned a lot. Great instructor. Only wish there were more segments using flash rather than the very expensive gear. But, the principles are the same.

Aly Cupcakezz
 

I really liked how things were experimented. Instead of just giving do x, y, z. It shows you how to correct issues as they come up, and how to enhance your photography This gives you a guided idea of all the things you can play with to perfect your product photography image. You really learn how to fix the image problems as they appear in front of you. A very realistic way to create your own personal lighting setup for your product photos for your own studio space. Excellent fundamentals class for new photographers or small businesses attempting to do their own product photography. Thank you!